Thursday, May 28, 2009

But, Hollywood still loves

Vargas Llosa told to hold tongue in Venezuela
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa vowed Wednesday to speak his mind at a pro-democracy forum in Venezuela despite an official warning not to criticize President Hugo Chavez's government.
Vargas Llosa was stopped by authorities for more than an hour at Caracas' main airport, and said he was questioned and told "that as a foreigner I don't have the right to make political statements."
"Nobody can put limits on free thinking," Vargas Llosa told journalists at Simon Bolivar International Airport, pledging to speak freely at a forum organized by Cedice, a conservative Caracas-based think tank that has come under criticism from Chavez allies.
"Antidemocratic systems proceed that way. The truth is, they are scared of ideas," Vargas Llosa later said of his brief detention at the airport. "They think ideas are like bombs, that ideas can provoke social explosions. We don't want that."
Vargas Llosa, one of the Spanish-speaking world's most-acclaimed writers, has been critical of Chavez in the past, saying the socialist leader's government restricts liberties and "believes in a type of authoritarian democracy." Chavez denies limiting individual freedoms, saying his government is expanding rather than restricting liberties.
Former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, former Mexican Foreign Minister Jorge Castaneda and Colombian intellectual Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza also are expected to attend the two-day forum, which starts Thursday.
Authorities also cautioned Vargas Llosa's son, Alvaro, against making political statements when he arrived on Monday.
Mario Vargas Llosa has written more than 30 novels, plays and essays, including "Conversation in the Cathedral" and "The Green House." In 1995, he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor.

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